Wham! Bam! No, Thank You, Scam!!

09.20.2021 | Blog

Hello again, jobseekers! 

In this day and age, job seeking on the internet has become so easy and convenient, hasn't it? You can apply as easily as clicking your mouse. However, I want to warn you about something. Scams have been around almost as long as we humans have, and our increasingly connecting present is no exception. This means that, like job seeking, getting caught up in a scam is also as easy as a mouse click. In this article, I hope to teach you about scams that target those of us whom are looking for work and what you can look out for before you make that one click. 

First, there are two types of scams in particular you should be aware of. The first is what is called the job scam, in which a scammer posts a false job using ordinary means (newspapers, social media, job search sites, etc.) and waits for victims to apply. Recruitment scams, with the scammers cold contacting their victims, are the second type. Here, the scammer finds the contact information of the jobseeker (through the use of a false online job posting or legitimate resume posting site) and contacts the victim to offer their services/connections for a fee. In both cases, the scammer may use the name of a well-known and reputable company or a very generic sounding company name to draw jobseeker attention. 

With the above in mind, here are some common signs you should be on the lookout for. The first is the old adage “If it is too good to be true, it probably is”. Many times, these scams offer very high pay and benefits with very little to no qualifications. These are often paired with unclear and minimal information to get the quick attention of the jobseeker. As a recruiter, part of my job is to present positions, both in my job postings and in direct written and verbal communications, with realistic and clear information for the jobseeker to know what they may be applying for. Otherwise, I can easily seem like a scammer. 

A short hiring process is another clear sign of these types of frauds. To scammers, speed is everything, they will take advantage of desperate or unaware jobseekers. In some cases, “hiring” happens the same day as applying to the fake job post or getting contacted from a fraud recruiter. Such quick turnaround is just not true when it comes to the hiring process. After I submit a candidate’s resume it could be a month or more for the process, interviewing to hiring, depending on so many factors on the client’s side. If you are being offered a job the same day you click that apply button, then you are being scammed. 

Another sign is something that you should always be aware of when doing anything at all on the internet, and that is giving out personal information. After either applying to a scam job posting or being contacted by a fake recruiter, the jobseeker will be asked for personal information (social security number, banking information, contact information, etc.). As a recruiter, I only need your contact information, which I would have on your resume. Your social security number would not be needed until we run an official background check right before you being hired by one of our clients. Your banking information is not needed until you show up for work on your first day to set up direct deposit.  If you are asked for any information without even seeing a job description or having an interview, you are likely in a scam. 

Going back to banking information, asking for payment of any kind is a huge red flag. For a job scam, this could be in the form of a “processing fee” or an “administrative cost”. When it comes to recruitment scams, the reasons can get even wilder. For example, it could be a “consultation fee” with the excuse of your resume/interview skills needing to be sharpened or a “service charge” for connecting you with the client/opportunity. Recruiters’ advice and service are free to all jobseekers. My pay comes from the agency I work for, as does my commission when I place a candidate in a position. And that money comes from the clients that hire my agency to fill those positions. To reiterate, jobseekers NEVER pay. So, if you are told that you need to, you are definitely in a scam. 

The last, and probably easiest to realize sign is that the scammer will come off as either unprofessional or too professional. This can actually come in many different forms. In terms of unprofessionalism, first contact could come from a personal email address (Gmail, Yahoo, Comcast, etc.) or a phone number not connected to a business upon web searching. This could also mean fast talking and pressuring to take action or give personal information. Actually, you might even notice simple mistakes or urgency. In terms of being too professional, the grammar used in communications, job posts, and website would seem too formal for someone making contact with a job seeker or possibly copy and pasted across all of them. There may even be a legitimate looking contact info or website, with nothing being found upon web searching. We recruiters are human and know how to communicate properly. If the communications don’t seem to be coming from an understanding and professional person, it is a clear sign of a scam. 

**Reference: Top 10 Job Warning Scams, by Neighbors Credit union

So, what can you do to prevent getting caught up in a scam? There are three things you can do. The first is to educate yourself. Reading articles like this ais a great way to start. Knowing what signs to look for will help you notice possible pit falls before you fall in. When applying for a job or accepting a call from a recruiter, you should never be afraid to ask questions. Always know exactly what you are applying for before you do. Ask for contact info, websites, and time to do some quick investigation via web search to check the company’s legitimacy and professionalism. Especially ask why you have to pay or give out your personal information. Also, report if you see any sign of a scam. The Better Business Bureau and Federal Trade Commission are the best places to report to. However, in the case of a legitimate company name being used, that company should also be notified. 

I have given you a lot in this article to think about, but that is because this really is a serious issue. Especially since COVID-19, job seeking online has become more common, and scammers are taking every advantage they can to take advantage of jobseekers. I was not able to cover the complete scope of this issue in this article, so I have linked a few articles I found for your further reading.  It is my hope that you now have the knowledge to job search online safely and with a sense of confidence to protect yourself from being taken advantage of because of one click. 

Thank you so much for reading! 

Further Reading: 

  • Job Scams  The Federal Trade Commission goes more in depth into various types of employment scams and what you can do to guard against them. 
  • Top 10 Job Warning Scams This article from Neighbors Federal Credit Union covers the signs of job scams and gives some examples and scenarios in which job scams can take place. 
  • How to Recognize and Avoid Job Posting Scams Recruit Military offers this blog post gives good insight into the signs of a scam and where/how to report suspicious posts, recruiters, and companies. 
  • How to Spot a Recruitment Scam You can learn more about recruitment scams from CIPHR’s blog above. IT also has handy bulleted list for quick reference.  
  • Recruitment Fraud Notice: Warning Signs to Watch Out For Recruitment Daily offers advice about how real companies conduct the recruitment and hiring processes as well as where to report suspicious emails for Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo mail.